The effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation to the ankle pronators on neural excitability & functional status in patients with chronic ankle instability

Review written by Adam Johnson info

Key Points

  1. Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) does not appear to address neuroplastic changes that have occurred following ankle injury in those displaying signs of chronic ankle instability.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Despite being one of the most common ligamentous injuries seen by clinicians, lateral ankle ligament injuries still pose a large challenge. One of the reasons for this is that current testing procedures prior to return to unconstrained activity do not truly address or allow for understanding of the factors which subsequently go on to predispose the patient to reinjury or decreased functional performance. This terminology for this reinjury or subjective feeling of the ankle “giving way” after injury is called Chronic Ankle Instability (CAI).

As a result of these high reinjury rates, more research has been dedicated to trying to understand the changes post-injury. One of the suggested causes of reinjury is maladaptive neuroplasticity following injury (1).

This paper looked to understand the effects of both Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) on neural excitability to the ankle. It also analyzed performance and patient-reported function in those with CAI.

Despite being one of the most common ligamentous injuries seen by clinicians, lateral ankle ligament injuries still pose a large challenge.
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Rehabilitation of chronic ankle injuries must look to address strength deficits, balance deficits, altered kinaesthesia and alterered arthrokinematics.

METHODS

This study included 20 participants who were randomized into either the NMES or TENS intervention groups. All of these participants must have suffered from an ankle sprain at least one year prior to the study, have experienced recurrent sensations of

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